Fabulous Fiction Firsts #551

The title - Everybody Rise *, a first novel by the Loeb Award-winning investigative reporter at The New York Times Stephanie Clifford, is taken from the Stephen Sondheim lyric to Ladies Who Lunch.

Set in the years leading up to the 2008 financial collapse, 26 year-old Evelyn Beegan finally lands a real job with a social-media start-up called People Like Us that aims at the elites, by overselling her New England prep school and society connections that are at best, marginal. Now she must deliver. Hoping to impress her new bosses by recruiting Camilla Rutherford ("the clear center of young New York") as a new member, she is not above using her good friend Preston Hacking ("a Winthrop on his mother's side,") to gain entry to the Adirondack camps, thick with socialites, Wall Streeters and Who's Who.

Evelyn has long felt like an outsider to her privileged peers, and despises her mother's social-climbing ways, but now she is forced to embrace them. With endless rounds of charity events, regattas, debuts, and excessive shopping and dining, Evelyn soon finds the lure of belonging intoxicating, and starts trying to pass as old money herself. When her father's unfortunate downfall becomes public, she chooses to distance herself rather than to rally around family.

"A masterful tale of social climbing and entrenched class distinctions, as seen through the eyes of an outsider who desperately wants in. Tense, hilarious, and bursting with gorgeous language. Stephanie Clifford is a 21st-century Edith Wharton." Will appeal to fans of The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe and Rules of Civility by Amor Towles.

* = starred review

Everything is AWESOME!

Shmowzow! 154 of you visited the Downtown Library over the last month and wrote what you think is AWESOME on a sticky note for Summer Game points! The things you wrote were too great not to share.

Many of you showed your love for AADL and the Summer Game, so many thanks! (Remember that you still have time to shop for prizes with those points, so if you're that person who loves AADL's Brick Banks, have at it!) A large number of you also like reading, books, LEGO, sports, your pets, family and friends (aww), and of course, food.

Can't get enough of what YOU think is AWESOME? Check out AADL's related events, like upcoming musicians, video game tournaments, and crafty classes! Animal and nature-lovers can walk around Black Pond Woods and cosplayers can take part in our costume exchange!

We'll see you around the library for all your favorite activities, and THANKS FOR PLAYING!

Summer Game 2015: Take Five!

WE DID IT! Summer Game 2015 is all over and we all (as far as I know, though I haven't really looked into this much) survived! Now it's time for all of us to take a much deserved rest, trying to retrain our brains to not perk up anytime someone mentions "points" or "friend codes" or "badges". But before we take five, we should probably take a minute to reflect on how INCREDIBLE this year's Summer Game was. And we all know things aren't truly amazing without numbers, so let's have a think about:

An UNSTOPPABLE 5,442 players played!
An UNBEATABLE 75,968 badges earned!!
An UNBELIEVABLE 353,488 codes redeemed!!!
An UNPOSSIBLE 128,649,387 points earned!!!!

Those kinds of numbers are every kind of UN imaginable! So UNIMAGINABLE, I guess!!

While we're taking five, let's also talk about how this year's Summer Game was Summer Game 5! After 5 years of Summer Game, was it BIGGER THAN EVER? Since that 5 is a nice round number, let's compare this year to Summer Game 2011: 1.5x the number of players! 2.3x the number of badges! 4.5x the number of codes! 2.9x the number of points!

SO YEAH, BIGGER!!! But now we have to ask ourselves...can it be BIGGER YET? I'll answer for us all with a resounding, "Sure. I mean, probably. Probably yes." (Ahem, sorry, my internal caps lock might be a little worn out by this point in the summer.) I meant "TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY HECK YEAH! WE'RE COMING FOR YOU, 2016!"

BUT WHAT TO DO UNTIL THEN?! Well, how about you take another five:
-Download of the Day, a chance to learn about all of the great things AADL has for download, score points, and score even more points by solving a clue and finding the download a week early on the Lowdown of the Day
-Points-O-Matic, a chance to help us figure out which reviews are helpful and which are not with a click of your mouse and to help make our amazing old newspapers more searchable by entering text from hundred-year-old pages
-Streets Quest, a game that takes you to many of the historic streets panels around town and teaches you the history of the city around you
-Treasure Quest, the most mind-boggling of our games that the will have you decoding and deciphering your way through the catalog
-That's only four, huh? Weird. You'd think there'd be a fifth game that I'd mention here, what with the whole "take five" theme. I dunno, like a WHOLE NEW GAME or something. Huh.

For those of you with Summer Game points left, don't forget that the SUMMER GAME SHOP STAYS OPEN UNTIL MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14! Keep your eyes on play.aadl.org for news about the restocking of popular items! And don't worry if you don't get to spend all of your points, the Shop will re-open in 2016 with all-new items and your points will still be just as good for spending!

So after five years, it seems like everyone is STILL HAVING A GREAT TIME playing the Summer Game! And that's great news for us, because WE ARE STILL HAVING A GREAT TIME MAKING IT! And the players who are having fun are what makes the Summer Game worth making, so:

THANKS FOR MAKING ALL OF THIS WORTH IT!
THANKS FOR MAKING THE GAME A FAIR AND FUN EXPERIENCE FOR EVERYBODY!
THANKS FOR HELPING EACH OTHER OUT IN THE COMMENTS!
THANKS FOR ALL OF THE TAGS, REVIEWS, AND RATINGS YOU'VE ADDED!
and THANKS FOR BEING AWESOME!

but mostly

THANKS FOR PLAYING!!!

Blackout: a moving portrait of alcoholism and recovery

Sarah Hepola writes of her experiences with both alcoholism and sobriety in the deeply personal, relatable, and relevant new book Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget. With so many college activities now focused around drinking, it's often difficult after graduation has occurred for young people to shed the mentality of making-everything-more-fun-with-alcohol. Alcohol-fueled events and parties extend into our twenties, thirties and beyond, and the line between normal alcohol consumption and alcoholism is increasingly blurred for many young people. Hepola calls alcohol the “gasoline of all adventure” for her when she was in her younger years. She spent fun nights at cocktail parties and at bars, drinking til last call… but the frivolity didn’t come without a price. She blacked out often and was left spending entire mornings trying to piece together what she had done the night before, making self-deprecating jokes to cover her shame. As with many alcoholics, her career flourished during this time, but as the blackouts continued, Hepola was forced to admit the truth: the alcohol she thought she needed to lift her spirits was depressing her and negatively affecting her health and relationships. Thus, she embarks on a new and unexpected adventure: that of sobriety.

This memoir is simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking, and always unfailingly honest. A highly recommended read for anyone who has been forced to reinvent themselves or cope with necessary change, Blackout reveals how sometimes giving up the thing we cherish the most can allow us to truly find ourselves.

For other excellent stories about women and alcoholism, try Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas, Note Found in a Bottle, by Susan Cheever, and Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol, by Ann Dowsett Johnston.

Dr. Wayne Dyer, Self-Help Guru, Motivational Speaker Has Died

Dr. Wayne DyerDr. Wayne Dyer
The author, motivational speaker, and psychotherapist, Wayne Dyer, passed away this past Saturday at 75 years old after battling leukemia. He was born in Detroit, Michigan and graduated from Wayne State University where he received his doctorate degree in counseling. He was a self-help guru popular with a number of celebrities, like Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres (whose marriage to Portia De Rossi he officiated). He believed that the power of positive thinking could lead to a healthier, happier life. His book, Your Erroneous Zones, is one of the bestselling books of all time.

Oliver Sacks, Writer and Neurologist, Dies at 82

On Sunday, Dr. Oliver Sacks passed away in his home after a long battle with cancer. Dr. Sacks was a wonderful writer who brought the lives of his neurology patients to a wider audience through his many books. His writing was caring, funny, and fascinating. Dr. Sacks was one of the first writers to actively work to make science accessible to all people, regardless of their scientific training. His work in this field has been carried on through outlets such as RadioLab and the series The Best American Science and Nature Writing.

Dr. Sacks first rose to fame through his book Awakenings, which told the story of his work with a group of catatonic patients and was later adapted into a movie of the same name. Dr. Sacks wrote a plethora of other books about his patients, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales and An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales. An endlessly curious man, Dr. Sacks also wrote about his travels, his own life story, music, and more. Dr. Sacks was a true talent whose work and writing greatly improved our world.

Zombies and Samurais....sort of

Rot and Ruin: Warrior Smart is a collection of the first five comics of the series Rot and Ruin, based on the novel of the same name by Jonathan Maberry. The story is a post-apocalyptic zombie thriller, and deals with the survivors of the zombie outbreak that happened prior to the start of the series.

The comics follow Benny Imura, a 15 year old boy, as well as his girlfriend Nix, his friend Chong, and a semi-feral girl named Lilah. One night, Benny and Nix see a jet fly overhead, something unseen since the outbreak started. So Benny and his friends decide to set out and find this jet, thinking that whoever built it must be working on putting the world back together. Having been trained by Benny's brother Tom in the ways of the samurai and sword fighting, the group prepares themselves to set foot outside their walled city and into the land of rot and ruin. While zombies are the first thing they encounter, the walking dead may not be the most terrifying thing beyond the city walls. On the run, the group comes across a farmstead village, protected from the zombies. Everything seems peaceful, and the people are happy and value hard work and children above all else. But not everything is as nice as it seems.

If you like Rot and Ruin, be sure to check out the novel series here, or any other of Jonathan Maberry's books.

Maus is a must read!

Maus by Art Spiegelman is one of those graphic novels that has a history. Not just within the page but the actual book itself. When the book came out it was hailed as one of the comics that everyone must read, and not much has changed in the almost 25 years that has past sinces its publication. Yet with so much positive hype about it's a hard book to pin down on just what it is. Is it a historical graphic novel, a fable, a graphic memoir or is it something that mixes all of these different genres together? This graphic novel will leave you with questions!

So what exacltly is Maus?
Maus is a story about being a Jew during the Second World War. It frames the experiences of of Jews in the war in an anthropomorphic (animals having human form) way. The mice in Maus are Jews and the Cats are Nazi's.
This book won a Pulitzer prize (one of the only graphic novels to do this!) and is just as popular now as it was when it was first published. If you're interested in graphic memoirs, anthropomorphic dramas, or the history of the Second World War you shoud read Maus.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #550

An international bestseller, first published in German in March 2012, Death in Brittany * * by Jean-Luc Bannalec (a pseudonym) introduces the first case of Commissaire Georges Dupin.

At the height of the tourist season, Commissaire Georges Dupin, the cantankerous Parisian transplant to the coastal town of Concarneau, is dragged from his morning croissant and coffee to the village of Pont-Aven, where the 91-year-old hotelier Pierre-Louis Pennec has been found murdered in his restaurant.

Dupin and his team identify five principal suspects, amony them a rising political star, a longtime friend of the victim, and a well-respected art historian. The case is further complicated when a second death occurs and a painting (perhaps a genuine second version of Gauguin's famous Vision After the Sermon) disappears from Pennec's hotel. As Dupin delves further into the lives of the victims and the suspects, he uncovers a web of secrecy and silence in this picture-perfect seaside village that once played host to Paul Gauguin and other post-Impressionist painters in the 19th century, members of the loosely connected Pont-Aven School.

"Dupin is fascinating to watch - he's both cranky and enthusiastic... The star of the mystery, though, is Brittany. Bannalec feeds the reader with intriguing bits of history (for example, Bretons are descended from the Celts, who fled Britain during the Anglo-Saxon invasions) and culture, along with bracing glimpses of centuries-old stone buildings, river banks, and the sea."

For mystery fans who enjoyed the Commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg series by Fred Vargas; the Chief Magistrate Antoine Verlaque series by M.L. Longworth, set in charming and historic Aix-en-Provence; and Martin Walker's delightful Bruno Courreges series set in the fictional town of St Denis, in the picturesque Perigord region of rural France - featuring the consummate cook and locavore who happens to be the Chief of Police.

* * = 2 starred review

New in the Cormoran Strike series: Career of Evil

The latest mystery from author Robert Galbraith (pseudonym for J. K. Rowling), featuring private detective Cormoran Strike, is now available! Titled Career of Evil, the book opens with a mysterious package delivered to Cormoran’s assistant. To their surprise and horror, the package contains a woman’s severed leg. Narrowing the suspects down to four twisted people from Cormoran’s past, he and his assistant take matters into their own hands to pursue the perpetrator. Galbraith’s previous mysteries have appealed to a wide audience not only for their gripping excitement and unexpected twists, but also for their character development, and Career of Evil is no different. It is the third installment in the Cormoran Strike novels, following The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm. Place your hold today!

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